American Literature Live

American Literature Live 2024-2025


In this live class, read and discuss great books in Zoom meetings as you trace the development of American literature. Learn how to write and talk about literature and present your findings in writing assignments. Pair with Dave Raymond’s American History to add history credit, or take the course as an introduction to literary analysis.

Enrollment Limited


American Literature Live will focus on building a comprehensive understanding of basic literary elements such as irony, duality, juxtaposition, and, more importantly, a love of literature.

The class will meet once per week over Zoom. Because our teacher is continuing her education for the next few months, the exact day and time is TBD. If you register for the class, you will ensure a spot for your student. If the day and time of the class doesn’t fit your schedule when it is announced, you will be eligible for a refund of the class cost.

The format will be discussion-based with short lectures focused on the historical context of a particular book or short story. Students will read a variety of literary forms and learn how to write a basic thesis paper and find their own voice. The papers should reflect the student’s personal opinion as well as his ability to grasp literary concepts. The course can be used alongside Dave Raymond’s American History course but is also structured to stand alone.

List of Readings

Bold items need to be purchased separately. Any unabridged editions will do. Suggested purchase links are provided.

  1. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” Mark Twain
  2. The Aztec Hunters, Francis William Rolt-Wheeler (selections TBD)
  3. Explorer Stories (selections TBD)
  4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare [Amazon, BetterWorldBooks, ThriftBooks]
  5. Poems by Anne Bradstreet
  6. Poems by Phyllis Wheatley
  7. Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes [Amazon, BetterWorldBooks, ThriftBooks]
  8. The Declaration of Independence & The United States Constitution
  9. “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Purloined Letter,” Edgar Allan Poe
  10. “Rip van Winkle,” Washington Irving
  11. Poems by Emily Dickinson
  12. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain [Amazon, BetterWorldBooks, ThriftBooks]
  13. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder [Amazon, BetterWorldBooks, ThriftBooks]
  14. Battle-Pieces & Aspects of the War, Herman Melville
  15. Across Five Aprils, Irene Hunt [Amazon, BetterWorldBooks, Thriftbooks]
  16. The Wilderness Hunter, Theodore Roosevelt (selections)
  17. “After 20 Years,” O. Henry

Schedule of Class Meetings

Because our teacher is continuing her education for the next few months, the exact day and time is TBD.

Mary Pierson Purifoy has completed a history degree and was homeschooled until college. An avid reader and writer, she hopes to teach students to love books, writing, and history as well as a solid understanding of these subjects. Film is another passion as is exploring history through film and literature.

Additional information


12-14 (grades 6-9)




1 MS

Credit Amount


29 (planned)


– Zoom meetings
– Moderated discussion group on

1 review for American Literature Live 2024-2025

  1. Robin

    We actually dropped a local literature class to take this and it is the best homeschooling lit class we have ever taken so far. None other had given us so many interesting historical backgrounds to make the books come alive. This was the second literature class my daughter has ever taken so we really appreciate the pace, the easy-going nature and the encouragement you are to the students in the discussions and the writing assignments. Thank you again for teaching! We so appreciate your tutelage.

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